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Connecticut woman dies of rare tick-borne virus

A Connecticut woman died from a rare tick-borne Powassan virus just a month after being bitten. Writes about it Daily Mail.

Photo: Shutterstock

The woman was about 90, she lived in New London County, Connecticut, which borders Rhode Island.

Health officials said she was admitted to hospital in early May with a fever, headache, chest pain, an "altered mental state" two weeks after the tick bite.

This is the second death in the United States from a tick-borne virus this year, following the death of a man in Maine in April.

The Powassan virus is rare: about 28 people test positive each year, but about one in ten people who are infected die, and half are left with a life-long disability.

There is no vaccine or cure for this disease - all treatment is to relieve symptoms, including breathing problems and swelling of the brain.

Connecticut public health spokesman Dr. Manisha Jutani said the incident was another reminder that "measures must be taken to avoid tick bites."

She urged people to use insect repellent and avoid areas of tall grass where they often hide.

On the subject: Inflammation of the brain and death: ticks in the US spread a dangerous rare virus

“It is very important to carefully check for ticks after being outside. This will reduce the likelihood of you and your family members being infected with such a dangerous virus, ”she said.

Connecticut officials have confirmed that the Powassan virus was the cause of the patient's death. It is unclear if she had any comorbidities.

In April, a Maine man was hospitalized with "neurological symptoms" due to the virus. He soon died.

Directly in Connecticut, this is the second case in the last six months. In late March, a man in his 50s from Wyndham County was admitted to hospital with the Powassan virus but was later discharged to recuperate at home.

The Powassan virus is transmitted to humans by black-footed ticks, which pick up the disease from rodents such as marmots and squirrels.

Infected people begin to show symptoms one week to a month after the bite.

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Early warning signs include fever, headache, vomiting, and muscle weakness. But when the virus spreads to the brain and central nervous system, those infected may suffer confusion, loss of coordination, and seizures.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that people infected with the virus cannot pass it on to others.

The black-legged tick not only transmits this virus, but also infects people with Lyme infection.

True, this disease is somewhat different from the Powassan virus - its patients usually suffer from a characteristic rash around the bite site. In addition, it is rarely fatal, but is fraught with long-term health complications.

The Powassan virus is mainly registered in the northern states, although it has penetrated inland, as far as North Dakota.

This year, more deaths from the virus were recorded than in 2020 (only 1 case). The CDC has not yet released data for 2021. In 2019, the United States recorded nine deaths from the virus, the highest number on record.

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